You CAN Play Type I #43: The Initial Judgment, Part I – Creatures

Going into Judgment, again, since creatures are there mainly to tap and deal damage, we’re going to be looking mainly at Rule #1. Since new creatures have to compete against everything printed since 1994, you understand it’s an uphill fight – something like 85 degrees up.

Vote Oscar -> http://www.ccgprime.com/events/writerwar/poola.html. Support Type I!

(If you don’t, Jimmy Smits will be replaced by Leonardo diCaprio in Episode III. Trust me. And Randy Buehler will write the script instead of George Lucas, so Yoda is going to turn blue, because everyone knows green is so good it shouldn’t get powerful weenies.)

Also, vote Ooze – http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/feature/51.

If you think R&D hates green, then you should see how much it hates green Ooze.

Ooze is the race that piles up counters, but it never got anything after green’s Mwonvuli and red’s Primordial Ooze. Talk about discrimination!

Make a stand. Ooze all the way.

I got the wrong Yoda

I got called out by our humorous Level IV judge Rune Horvik:

—– Original Message —–

From:”Rune Horvik”

To:”Oscar Tan

Sent: Tuesday, May 21, 2002 9:03 AM

Subject: Your article on StarCity on Green

> 15:41:12 – Blue Yoda plays Force of Will.


> 15:41:12 – Black Yoda plays Contagion.


> 15:41:12 – Red Yoda plays Lightning Bolt.


> 15:41:12 – White Yoda plays Swords to Plowshares.


> 15:41:12 – Green Yoda plays with hairs on forehead and scoops.


> You obviously forgot:


> 15:41:12 – Green Yoda plays Fog.


> Unfortunately, not a super flexible card, though they keep sticking it into

> sets with every possible mechanic (flashback, buyback, on a creature etc).

> Rune

I stand corrected.

I’m sure green players all over the world are sighing with relief.

How could I forget Fog? Trust R&D. They know how to slice the pie and make green the strongest color.

The Initial Judgment

Well, here we are again, and my review is late as usual. If you were wondering where last week’s article came from, well, my boss announced Friday was”Bash Randy Day” since he already had two anti-Buehler articles and figured he might as well get them all out at once – except my article didn’t make it in in time. So my lineup got mixed up a bit – and since Judgment can’t be pushed back, we’re moving our terribly postponed Funker feature…

(Also, my apologies to Sheldon Menery for the blatant title ripoff…)

Anyway, I hope you remember our two rules:

Is the card more efficient than an established benchmark? (Or, do I get more bang from my buck?)

Does the card do something no past card ever did, and if it does, is this new card playable?

The Initial Judgment: Creatures

Unfortunately, I never really got to test the new cards since I had exams the last couple of months. I also didn’t make the Manila Prerelease, so I never got an up-close look at the set.

Anyway, last expansion’s forecast was generally on the money. Nantuko Shade is finding homes in black decks. I saw Grim Lavamancer in PT: Nice Extended decks, so maybe that confirms that it can be used as a 13th-16th creature in specific red decks that need it. As for the rest, well, madness wasn’t as abusable in Type I as it was at Regionals.

Going into Judgment, again, since creatures are there mainly to tap and deal damage, we’re going to be looking mainly at Rule #1. Since new creatures have to compete against everything printed since 1994, you understand it’s an uphill fight – something like 85 degrees up.

Phantom Centaur


Creature-Centaur Spirit


Judgment uncommon

Protection from Black. Phantom Centaur comes into play with three +1/+1 counters on it. If damage would be dealt to Phantom Centaur, prevent that damage. Remove a +1/+1 counter from Phantom Centaur

Brainburst writer Jarrod Bright e-mailed to gripe about a Neutral Ground article that said Seedtime was as broken as Library of Alexandria and that Living Wish was broken in Type I. He also said he disagreed with the author, who wrote that Centaur is better than Blastoderm. He tested it, and it just wasn’t the same.





Nemesis common

Fading 3 (This creature comes into play with three fade counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a fade counter from it. If you can’t, sacrifice it.) Blastoderm can’t be the target of spells or abilities.

I’m with Jarrod. Though both of them dodge The Abyss, the Centaur is still hit by everything else from Swords to Plowshares to Masticore. As for Type II, Jarrod exclaimed,”This thing is so far from Blastoderm it’s not funny. I mean even in Type 2, it’ll frequently be targeted with bounce spells.”

It’s an interesting mechanic, though, especially with things like Spikes. According to Magic rules, this only loses one counter when gang-blocked, unless something has first strike. Also, these things can’t be killed with damage if their toughness is boosted somehow, so you might have fun with the little Phantom Nomad and Crusade.





Judgment rare

At the beginning of your upkeep, if Genesis is in your graveyard, you may pay 2G. If you do, return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.

Green doesn’t get Blastoderm back, but it gets this eye-catcher.


Volrath’s Stronghold

Legendary Land

Stronghold rare

Add one colorless mana to your mana pool. 1B, Tap: Put target creature card from your graveyard on top of your library.

The most basic thing Genesis can do is keep resurrecting itself. But, of course, you want to build a deck with an endless stream of nasties from fat to 187s, and there are so many engines you can think of from Compulsion to Survival of the Fittest.

Volrath’s Stronghold isn’t part of any of the major archetypes, though; if you ever played with it or Hammer of Bogardan in old casual games, you’ll know that this sort of card is slow, and the opponent can just rush you. It’s good at wearing down slow control decks, but even those can stall with a counter wall while a fat flyer kills you.

But notice Genesis is faster than anything already printed, and you’re sure to be able to build some kind of deck around it. It’s perfectly splashable, too.

Which deck? Well, I don’t know yet. Something entirely new.

Speaking with tongue firmly in cheek, I wonder if this might finally make that non-weenie mono green a reality. I sure wouldn’t want to be on the wrong end of Genesis, Blastoderm and lots of mana. Unlike other engines, this one hides in the graveyard and not on the board, and most decks can only hope to race it. (It might be amusing if, due to an overload of mechanics, Type I control is forced to run removal for every zone of the game from the graveyard to the library.)

Unless I’m playing combo, in which case, bring on the mono green!

Sorry, mono green… Take it from [author name="Bennie Smith"]Bennie Smith[/author]: Just hang in there and trust Randy.

Sylvan Safekeeper, a.k.a. Olle Rade




Judgment rare

Sacrifice a land: Target creature you control can’t be the target of spells or abilities until end of turn.

Heeeey… All the creatures I’m going through are green! Maybe it’s a clever color after all…

Sylvan Safekeeper (ugh, what a name) was another new creature floated around Type I circles in the past weeks. The first question is, is it good in mono green?

(Don’t you know what the answer is going to be by now?)

That would be Stompy, which usually has just one or two lands in play. You’d have to replace a beatdown creature with Olle Rade, and risk having no more land when you topdeck the second wave. Not too promising.

As for everything else, you have:

Mother of Runes




Urza’s Legacy uncommon

Target creature you control gains protection from a color of your choice until end of turn.

Mother is slow, and few decks give a crucial creature slot to it. Some people might be planning to use Olle Rade with Phyrexian Dreadnought or Quirion Dryad, but you might want to think about the Mother comparison first. Personally, I wish Olle dreamed up something closer to Snake Basket.

Ernham Djinn




Arabian Nights uncommon / Judgment rare

At the beginning of your upkeep, target non-Wall creature an opponent controls gains forestwalk until your next upkeep.

Flavor text: He provides a safe passage to nowhere.

Last week, I told you that fat usually isn’t good. That’s why R&D has no problem giving us back our ancient favorites.

Ernham isn’t leaving the retirement home in Hammerheim anytime soon, and people say he won’t even be leaving for Type II. Simply put, there’s nothing special about four power for four mana anymore, and anything Ernie can do in Zoo, Call of the Herd can do better.

The happiest people might be the owners of Arabian copies who want to unload. But don’t worry, fans… At least his new art is better than Serra’s.

Worldgorger Dragon


Creature-Nightmare Dragon


Judgment rare

Flying. Trample. When Worldgorger Dragon comes into play, remove all other permanents you control from the game. When Worldgorger Dragon leaves play, return the removed cards to play under their owner’s control.

Did I recently say R&D is smoking better crack? I take it back…

Animate Dead



Beta uncommon

When Animate Dead comes into play, if it’s in play, it becomes an enchant creature. Put target creature card from a graveyard into play under your control enchanted by Animate Dead. Enchanted creature gets -1/-0. When Animate Dead leaves play, destroy enchanted creature. It can’t be regenerated.




Odyssey rare

Search your library for a card and put that card into your graveyard. Then shuffle your library.

Here’s the latest combo they stuck Type I with. In case you missed it these past weeks, it goes:

After you have a million mana, you can cast instants (they have to be instants, since the loop will go on and on) like Whispers of the Muse and Stroke of Genius for the win.

It’s annoying, since it’s another two-card combo based around unrestricted cards. Fortunately, JP”Polluted” Meyer tested it and reported it can’t seem to be broken beyond the level of existing combo decks.

Of course, since the components are so easy to find and Dark Ritual can substitute for Black Lotus, you’ll see this a lot more often than Neo-Academy in your card store. Make sure you have someone with a great control or aggro-control deck on hand when the inevitable wise guy with the new”unbeatable” deck strides in.

If none of you play control, well, maybe you can call in Randy Buehler. After all, he said this combo is perfectly okay since they got lucky and rotated Extended.

His exact words were:”[T]his argument only applies to tournament formats. If you and your group play primarily to have fun or pull off something cool then, hey, the more cards the merrier.”

By the way, a group of Philippine-based entrepreneurs is now offering a million Philippine pesos for compromising photos of Randy playing a Type I mono green, all-fattie deck against Dragon combo.

Wormfang Manta


Creature-Nightmare Beast


Judgment rare

Flying. When Wormfang Manta comes into play, you skip your next turn.

When Wormfang Manta leaves play, you take an extra turn after this one.

The Nightmares, believe it or not, bring new life to an old combo.

Ever put a Teferi’s Curse on a Thalakos Seer (draw a card when this leaves play) or Revered Unicorn (gain some life when this leaves play)? Hey, I laughed when it got played on me ages ago.

Phasing is a Mirage block mechanic that is very similar to the present”removed from game” abilities. According to Section 502.15 of your engaging, user-friendly Comprehensive Rules, the simple difference is that when something phases out, it doesn’t lose its enchantments, and when something phases in, its come-into-play abilities don’t trigger.

Wait… Come into play abilities don’t trigger?

Reanimation players are going to love this one (and Full English Breakfast avoids skipping a turn altogether, and so can an Illusionary Mask). Russ Goodman also posted that Vanishing and Vodalian Illusionist are the best phasing devices on [email protected].

For hardcore Mirage block fans, though, I recommend:

Teferi’s Veil



Weatherlight uncommon

Whenever a creature you control attacks, it phases out at end of combat.

Netdeckers play with Volrath’s Shapeshifter. Real men play with all those obscure creatures from Fog Elemental to Sandbar Crocodile.

Judgment also gives us red’s Soulgorger Orgg (life gain) and Spellgorger Barbarian (draw a card) in a similar flavor.

A caveat, though… If you can find some way to get the Manta out by turn 1 or 2, you can play Teferi’s Veil the following turn and win. So while people are tinkering with Judgment, be on your toes for all those funny cards like Show and Tell.

Oh… Was that another potential combo deck?

Anurid Brushhopper




Judgment rare

Discard two cards from your hand: Remove Anurid Brushhopper from the game. Return it to play under its owner’s control at end of turn.

Flavor text: It’s so tough it frightens itself into hiding.

People are still trying to find the best deck for breaking the Bazaar of Baghdad/Squee, Goblin Nabob combo, and the jury’s not out yet. Some people may think”Squee,” but be warned that green/white isn’t the strongest color combination and there are stronger things to do with Squee.

If this and green/white become good in Type II, though, I just can’t shake the strange thought of being beat down by…”Anurid Brushhopper.” That just sounds more out of place than Jar Jar Binks in a movie with lightsabers – and Natalie Portman.

Speaking of names, when you vote for Mr. Babycakes, you might want to think of the race they can’t possibly attach a lame name to.

Ooze all the way!





Judgment rare


2W: Target creature you control gains protection from the color of your choice until end of turn. Play this ability only if Glory is in your graveyard.

You have to admit mechanics get more and more interesting.

I’m not sure if Anger resurrects Fires decks without fat as strong as Saproling Burst… But the Incarnations are hilarious. If you were one of those guys who loved playing Sliver after Sliver with a Sliver Queen out, or someone who made a Visions Chimera”Voltron” deck, you’re going to love a Survival deck with one of each Incarnation.

After Genesis, the Prerelease card is probably the most annoying. It shuts down The Abyss, too.

Also on Survival, Judgment’s Ancestor’s Chosen (gain one life for each card in your graveyard) gives reanimators a larger life gain target.

Cephalid Constable


Creature-Cephalid Wizard


Judgment rare

Whenever Cephalid Constable deals combat damage to a player, return up to X target permanents that player controls to their owner’s hand, where X is the damage dealt to that player.

Flavor text: Cephalid don’t police people. They police loyalties.

A guy in my playgroup once took all my Academy Researchers off me, for his enchant creature-heavy deck. He’s sure to love this one.

Of all the ways you can lose a casual game, please don’t let it be to a sadistic Tradewind Rider fan with a Cephalid Constable + Empyreal Armor lock…

Suntail Hawk




Judgment common


This innocent little card started it all for Randy, but he’s also the perfect vanilla creature for the Bird theme. For me, Birds began with the much maligned Homelands:

Soraya the Falconer




Homelands uncommon

All Birds get +1/+1. 1W: Target Bird gains banding until end of turn.

Serra Aviary


Enchant World

Homelands uncommon

Creatures with flying get +1/+1.

The white Scryb Sprite even brought another nice theme card with him:

Soulcatcher’s Aerie



Judgment uncommon

Whenever a Bird you control is put into a graveyard from play, put a feather counter on Soulcatcher’s Aerie. All Birds get +1/+1 for each Feather counter on Soulcatcher’s Aerie.

Grizzly Fate



Judgment uncommon

Put two 2/2 green Bear creature tokens into play. Threshold-Instead, put 4 2/2 green Bear creature tokens into play. Flashback: 5GG

Hmmmm… I always wanted a Bear deck, even if the funny token decks use Squirrels or Saprolings.

Hey, when was the last time you cast a Grizzly Bear? Too long?

Keep this in mind when they make,”Buehler’s Padawan, Bear Lord.” After all, green shouldn’t get anything better than Grizzly Bears for two mana.

Balthor the Defiled


Creature-Zombie Dwarf Legend


Judgment rare

All Minions get +1/+1. BBB, Remove Balthor the Defiled from game: Each player returns all black and all red creature cards from his or her graveyard to play.

Flavor text: He remembers enough of his life to weep for what he has lost.

Sutured Ghoul




Trample. As Sutured Ghoul comes into play, remove any number of creature cards from your graveyard from the game. Sutured Ghoul’s power is equal to the total power of the removed cards and its toughness is equal to their total toughness.

Zombie decks are one of the oldest theme decks, and they receive a steady stream of cards. Balthor Experienced is as cute an addition as any, though it fights with graveyard-based cards like Balduvian Dead from Alliances.

The Ghoul, on the other hand, is an interesting theme rehash:

Frankenstein’s Monster




The Dark uncommon

As Frankenstein’s Monster comes into play, remove X creature cards in your graveyard from the game. If you can’t, put Frankenstein’s Monster into its owner’s graveyard instead of into play. For each creature card removed this way, Frankenstein’s Monster comes into play with a +2/+0, +1/+1, or +0/+2 counter.

Dwarven Scorcher




Judgment common

Sacrifice Dwarven Scorcher: Dwarven Scorcher deals 1 damage to target creature unless that creature’s controller has Dwarven Scorcher deal 2 damage to him or her.

Flavor text: Barbarians invented the blaze of glory. Dwarves protected it.

Though not all rehashes are interesting…

Mogg Fanatic




Tempest common

Sacrifice Mogg Fanatic: Mogg Fanatic deals 1 damage to target creature or player.

The Initial Judgment: Creature enchantments

Well, the last review was simple, and Reckless Charge has proven a wonderful goofy addition to red decks. Of course, it’s a bit too erratic to rely on competitively.

Elephant Guide


Enchant Creature

Judgment uncommon

Enchanted creature gets +3/+3. When enchanted creature is put into a graveyard, put a 3/3 green Elephant creature token into play.

Exoskeletal Armor


Enchant Creature

Judgment uncommon

Enchanted creature gets +X/+X, where X is the number of creatures in all graveyards.

Creature enchantments have it tough because they let your opponent kill two cards with one blow, especially in response to the enchantment. You also can’t play too many of them, since they’re dead draws without creatures. Thus, you have to apply both Rule #1 and #2 very strictly.

The benchmark for green creature enchantments is still:



Enchant Creature

Urza’s Destiny common

Enchanted creature gains +2/+0 and trample.

These two aren’t better because they take some time to kick in, and don’t add enough to multicolored aggro to merit slots.

Hey, size matters not. And Call of the Herd is more resilient than Elephant Guide, especially with Swords to Plowshares around.

Well, that’s it for this week. Hope this doesn’t look too rushed, since I’ve been finishing a mammoth research assignment. You should see my dubious research methods: Posting questions on forums.

Check back in next Monday, and in the meantime, don’t forget to support Type I ->http://www.ccgprime.com/events/writerwar/poola.html.

And of course, Ooze all the way ->http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/feature/51.

Oscar Tan

[email protected]

rakso on #BDChat on EFNet

Manila, Philippines

Forum Administrator, Star City Games (http://www.starcitygames.com/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi)

Featured writer, Star City Games (http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/archive.php?Article=Oscar Tan)

Author of the Control Player’s Bible (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bdominia/files/ControlBible.zip)

Type I, Extended and Casual Maintainer, Beyond Dominia


Proud member of the Casual Player’s Alliance (http://www.casualplayers.org)